The Color of the Pomegranates

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Armenia | 1969 | 77 minutes | Sergei Parajanov

Sergei Parajanov’s empirical masterpiece loosely follows the life of Sayat Nova, “King of Song,” an Armenian poet and musician born in the 18th century, through vibrant sets and costumes and hypnotic shots. This colorful and avant-garde masterpiece provides an utterly transformative cinematic experience.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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When presenting this film at the Toronto Film Festival, Martin Scorsese called The Color of Pomegranates “unlike anything in cinema history,” and he’s right. Four years after the completion of the film, director Sergei Parajanov was arrested and jailed, and his recently finished movie was hastily re-edited and tragically given a limited release. Now being presented with a new digital restoration by Cineteca di Bologna and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, his colorful and utterly avant-garde masterpiece can be seen for the first time as close as possible to the director’s original vision. This transformative and richly emotional film loosely follows the life of Sayat Nova, “King of Song”, an Armenian poet and musician born in the 18th century. Parajanov sets the tone of the film with experimental editing and cinematography, using static shots and jumps cuts and filling the screen with gloriously vibrant folk costumes and set design. Shot in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kyiv, Parajanov brings multicultural Transcaucasia together in this celebrated and timeless cinematic experience. Restored by Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata and The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project in association with the National Cinema Centre of Armenia and Gosfilmofond of Russia. Restoration funding provided by the Material World Charitable Foundation and The Film Foundation.

Director Biography
A true cinematic master and visionary, and one of the most important filmmakers of the 20th Century, Sergei Parajanov was born in 1924 in Tbilisi, Georgia, the son of Armenians. It was his film Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors (1965) that brought him international acclaim.

Sponsored by Seattle University Film Studies

  • Original Language Title: Sayat Nova
  • Director: Sergei Parajanov
  • Principal Cast: Sofiko Chiaureli, Melkon Alekian, Vilen Galustian, Giorgi Gegechkori
  • Country: Armenia
  • Year: 1969
  • Running Time: 77 minutes
  • Screenplay: Sergey Parajanov
  • Cinematographers: Suren Shakhbazian
  • Editors: Maia Ponomarenko
  • Music: Tigran Mansuryan
  • Awards: New York Film Festival 2014 (Gala Tribute Award)
  • Filmography: The Confession (1990), Ashik Kerib (1988), The Legend of Suram Fortress (1985), Shadows of Forgotten, Ancestors (1965), Flower on the Stone (1962), Ukrainian Rhapsody (1961), The First Lad (1958)
  • Language: Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: World Cinema Foundation